Boston Strong: One year later

The images and moments that defined a movement.

  • by Chris Huston

    When Curtis Clough of Cleveland, Ohio, added the hashtag #bostonstrong to the end of the above tweet on April 15, 2013 (shortly after the terror attacks inflicted on the 2013 Boston Marathon), few could have predicted it would turn into a social media phenomenon. 

    Since that first tweet, the words "Boston Strong" have been used over 2.2 million times on Twitter and Facebook, while the slogan has found its way onto everything from t-shirts, to magazine covers to athletic footwear. A recent Google search of the term produced over 1.4 billion results.

    For Clough, the hashtag was common sense.

    "It was something my dad had always said along the way with his dealings with the Boston people and the salesmen," Clough said later. "It was always Boston Strong this, and Boston Strong that. I remember that from my dad, and it just seemed to fit in that situation. That’s why I put the tweet out. My dad just used to tell me all the time. It just seemed like it fit."

    It's a phrase that fit with a lot of other people, too, including
    Sports Illustrated creative director Chris Hercik, who helped commemorate the first anniversary of the bombing by conceiving an extraordinary magazine cover featuring thousands of Boston natives.

    "It sort of hit me that as much as the story was about those individuals who were hurt in the bombing, there was actually a larger picture that touched a lot more people," said Hercik. "I then realized that the way to replace last year's cover was to fill the pockets on the street -- the ones that had all the debris and chaos -- with the people who were touched by this event and sort of celebrate Boston's resiliency."

    Now that a full year has passed since the bombings 
    and the
    2014 Boston Marathon has been run without a hitch, let's take a look back at the images and moments that helped define the Boston Strong movement:

    Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks wrote the slogan on his cleats the day after Clough tweeted it. (Photo: via Twitter)
    The April 29, 2013, edition of Sports Illustrated featured the slogan on its cover.
    Nearly two months after the terror attack, People featured the survivors on its cover. (Photo:
    Boston buses got in on the movement as well.
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology used its own play on the slogan to memorialize slain university police officer Sean Collier.
    A variation of the slogan was etched into the outfield at Boston's famed Fenway Park. (Photo:
    The compassion for Boston reached across city lines. Here, members of the Chicago White Sox wear the Red Sox version of the slogan in solidarity.
    Boston beer maker Samuel Adams was one of many brands and companies that attempted to trademark the "Boston Strong" slogan. Its goal was to put the slogan on its beer bottle and have the proceeds go to charity. But the U.S. government denied the request. Nonetheless, Sam Adams fulfilled its charitable intentions with a beer called "26.2" -- the number of miles in a marathon. 
    Chinese shoe maker Anta produced a sneaker featuring the initials of every victim of the attack, with the slogan and the number "41513" — representing the date (April 15, 2013) of the tragedy — on the tongue. Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who has an endorsement deal with Anta, wore the shoes to raise money for the victims of the bombings. (Photo:
    Meb Keflezighi crosses the finish line to win the 2014 Boston Marathon. "At the end, I just kept thinking, 'Boston Strong. Boston Strong,'" he said. "I was thinking give everything you have. If you get beat, that's it." 

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